Merry Green Christmas

28 December 2016

The art of giving

Dolly Oladini, Air Quality and Hydrogen Officer in the Environment team, shares ideas on how to make future Christmases a more sustainable one...

Christmas is mulled, bright and exciting but it’s also the time of year where we throw away a considerable amount of valuable waste.

While we like to give and to be gifted, wouldn’t you feel better knowing that the musical biscuit tin you spent good money on was going to be home for your custard creams, instead of being re-purposed as a dust-gathering mantelpiece accessory - or worse, carelessly binned?

Manufacturing and consumption are responsible for more than half of our carbon dioxide production. We can help our environment whilst shopping for presents for our dearest by buying and wrapping products using recycled or recyclable material, and shopping locally to reduce congestion and carbon and improve air quality. Better yet, make your own presents or give someone a memorable experience.

London boroughs and businesses go green

Through the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund, both Waltham Forest and the Clean Air Better Business programme (CABB) have created schemes to improve our air quality and reduce carbon for Christmas and beyond.

Waltham Forest has used its funding to set up a free borough-wide courier scheme for residents shopping locally using cargo bikes and hybrid vehicles. This trial delivery service within Walthamstow Town Centre is the world’s first council-run cargo bike delivery service and has benefitted both the environment and the local economy.

The scheme ran from 12 – 23 December to get an idea of interest from residents and businesses. Already an early success, almost 300 parcels within 200 deliveries from around 19 local businesses were made in the first three days.

Waltham Forest will use data from the scheme to develop a borough-wide Zero Emission Courier Service in 2017. #christmascourier

CABB is addressing the air quality impact of online shopping and personal deliveries via, a website that provides shoppers with the locations of their nearest collection services. Currently, a significant number of people have their deliveries sent to their work addresses, contributing to an increase in congestion and localised air pollution in central London.

  • 38000
    of paper and card expected to be consumed by Londoners over Xmas 2016
  • 40%
    of deliveries
    made to the workplace are personal deliveries
  • 9%
    of people
    have pulled a sickie in order to wait in for a delivery
  • 18%
    of people
    would leave a door unlocked to ensure delivery is made

And lastly, in London, over Christmas, the amount of paper and card we use would wrap Big Ben more than 34,000 times, the Gherkin over 30,000 times and the London Eye over 6,500 times!

Visit the Recycle for London website for more information on how you can reduce your waste.

Share this page